Luther Goddard Clockmaker, Watchmaker, Silversmith, Jeweler and Baptist Minister. Shrewsbury, Massachusetts.
Luther Goddard was born February 28, 1762 in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. He was the cousin of Simon Willard and is thought to have trained or more appropriately apprenticed under him as early as 1778 at the age of 16. This indenture is thought to have lasted five years through 1783. He is then recorded as working in Shrewsbury in 1784 through 1817 as a clockmaker, watchmaker and as a silversmith. In 1784, Luther married Elizabeth Dakin on June 19. They had at least two children that worked in the clock, watch and silver trades. Parley Goddard, born in 1787, began training under his father in 1800. His brother Daniel, born in 1796, started training when he was 13. It is thought that Luther also trained his second cousin Nichols Goddard, born 1773 and died in 1823. Nicholas becomes one of Vermont’s most prolific clockmakers. He was located in the town of Rutland. In 1803, Luther formed what must have been a brief partnership with James Hamilton as Goddard & Hamilton. It is recorded that in 1807, Luther attended the estate sale of the Norwich, Connecticut clockmaker Thomas Harland. Here, he is said to have purchased a set of clockmakers tools. In 1809, he relocated his shop to Shrewsbury Hill. His shop here was one story and had a hip roof. It had a lean to on the back for the casting process. It is in this location that he began to manufacturer pocket watches and is credited as being the first American to make a significant attempt to do so. His silvered cased examples are thought to have originally sold for approximately $60. This would have been about the the same cost as a tall case clock. Today, his watches are prized by collectors. This first watch venture included his son Parley under the firm name of Luther Goddard & Son. Their timing was pretty good as imports were blocked by Jefferson and the “Jefferson Embargo” during the War of 1812. By 1815 the market was again flooded with imports and the watch business slowed. It is thought they produced approximately 600 or so watches by 1817. Some of the other firm names that were related to this venture are “Luther Goddard,” “L. Goddard & Son,” “L&P Goddard,” “L. Goddard & Co.,” “D&P Goddard & Co.,” etc… In 1817, Luther moves to Worcester, Massachusetts with his son Daniel and continues to repair watches and clocks, silversmithing as well as preaching as a Baptist minister. This shop was located on Main Street across from Daniel Waldo’s store. Luther dies in Worcester on May 24, 1842.
This clock case is constructed in cherry and retains a wonderful mellow finish. The color is a deep brown that exhibits… read more